10 Natural Ways to Prevent Blood Clots 2023

The main function of blood is to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the body and carry away the waste to be disposed. Blood travels in arteries and veins. Arteries carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body and veins bring it back to the heart.


When trauma occurs, or when we accidentally cut ourselves, the blood stream carries a type of protein (called clotting factors) to the damaged area to seal it from further blood loss.

There is a delicate balance between too much and too little clotting factors. Too little and we continue to bleed. Abnormal clotting process can be catastrophic, leading to deep venous thrombosis (DVT) in the legs and pulmonary embolism (PE) in the lungs.

Common causes

In short, all unhealthy lifestyle behaviours will increase the risk of an abnormal blood clot such as DVT and PE.

Here are some common risk factors:
  • Prolonged immobility (post-surgery, car travel, plane travel)
  • Trauma
  • History of DVT
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Sleep apnea
  • Cancer
  • Low vitamin D (lack of sunshine)
  • COVID-19
  • Genetic defects like Factor V Leiden, Prothrombin Gene mutation, MTHFR (MethyleneTetraHydroFolate Reductase) mutation and elevated homocysteine, Lp(a) and several others.
Of note, varicose veins and spider veins on the skin are not dangerous. They are a cosmetic issue but may also be a sign of an unhealthy liver or kidney function.
 

Symptoms

The most common symptoms are pain or swelling one leg compared to another in the case of a DVT.

PE may present as chest pain, but most likely shortness of breath.

Ultrasound of the legs is the diagnostic modality of choice. A CT scan may confirm if a clot traveled to the lungs.

Pharmaceutical  treatments

Two major categories here. Vitamin K antagonists (warfarin/Coumadin) or the non-vitamin K anticoagulants like Pradaxa, Xarelto, and Eliquis.

Our preference is for Eliquis started immediately for 3 months. This does not require concomitant parenteral anticoagulation (heparin, Lovenox, or similar).

If the clot in the legs is significant enough and the risk of severe pulmonary embolism is high, an IVC filter may be recommended.

Aspirin also has some efficacy in recurrent DVT prevention.

Updates: 

Natural Blood Thinning Supplements 

The following can be taken together or separately. 

Disclaimer: Discuss your doctor before stopping any pharmaceuticals. 

1. N-acetylcysteine (NAC)

N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is a precursor to glutathione. It is an antioxidant and increases glutathione levels in the body (Source). 

NAC is a natural alternative for aspirin and an over-the-counter supplement that both prevents blood clots and breaks up existing ones i.e. anticoagulant effects. NAC also has other benefits that makes it useful against COVID-19. 

A 2017 paper found NAC has potent thrombolytic effects, meaning it breaks down blood clots once they've formed.

Importantly, NAC may also protect against other problems associated with COVID-19, including the hypercoagulation that can result in stroke and/or blood clots that impair the ability to exchange oxygen in the lungs.

Many COVID-19 patients experience serious blood clots, and NAC counteracts hypercoagulation, as it has both anticoagulant and platelet-inhibiting properties.
 
Consider taking around 500 milligrams/day of NAC, as it helps prevent blood clots and is a precursor for your body to produce the important antioxidant glutathione.

Why are some retailers and Amazon no longer selling NAC? The US FDA made it clear in 2020 that it considers NAC to be a drug and not a dietary supplement, so, for legal reasons, some companies have stopped selling it in United States.

2. Quercetin

Quercetin is a pigment that is found in plants, vegetables, and fruits, and serves as an immune nutrient offering many health benefits. Elderberry, red onions, white onions and cranberries are the richest sources of quercetin. It is a flavonoid and antioxidant that may help to reduce inflammatory cytokines, infections, allergies and anti-blood clot property.

3. Berberine 

Berberine comes from plants and as a supplement, affects just about everything in the body positively. This includes blood-thinning through its anti-thrombin and anti-platelet activities. Depending on the situation, usually, 1 cap 2x per day is good for prevention. (R)

4. Vitamin C 

Vitamin C, 1 tablet 2x per day. (R)

5. Alpha Lipoic Acid 

1 cap per day of our extended-release alpha-lipoic acid. (R)

6. Beetroot Juice Powder 

One heaping teaspoon 1-2x per day in water or a smoothie. Beets are prized for their ability to function like natural aspirin, blocking platelet function. (R)

7. Curcumin 

Cook with turmeric but add 1 cap 2x daily of a quality curcumin product. (R)

8. Nattokinase

Nattokinase (NK) is an enzyme derived from a traditional Japanese food called natto, and it is thought to help lower cholesterol, reduce inflammation, and improve circulation. 

Nattokinase for Blood Clots

Nattokinase dissolves blood clots by directly hydrolyzing fibrin and plasmin substrate. It converts endogenous prourokinase to urokinase (uPA). It also degrades plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI-1) and increases the level of tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA). (Source)

Furthermore, a study has also suggests that daily NK supplementation is an effective way to manage the progression of atherosclerosis and potentially may be a better alternative to statins which are commonly used to reduce atherosclerosis and further to prevent cardiovascular attack and stroke in patients.

In this clinical study (Chen 2022) involving 1,062 participants, the objective was to examine the efficacy of NK (nattokinase) in atherosclerosis and hyperlipidemia and safety at the dose of 10,800 FU/day after 12 months of oral administration. 

Authors found that NK at a dose of 10,800 FU/day effectively managed the progression of atherosclerosis and hyperlipidemia with a significant improvement in the lipid profile. The lipid-lowering effect of NK was more prominent in subjects who smoked, drank alcohol, and subjects with higher BMI. Regular exercise further improved the effects of NK. 

Co-administration of vitamin K2 and aspirin with NK produced a synergetic effect. In conclusion, the data demonstrate that atherosclerosis progression and hyperlipidemia can be effectively managed with NK at a dose of 10,800 FU/day. The lower dose of 3,600 FU per day is ineffective. Some lifestyle factors and the coadministration of vitamin K2 and aspirin lead to improved outcomes in the use of NK. The findings provide clinical evidence on the effective dose of NK in the management of cardiovascular disease and challenge the recommended dose of 2,000 FU per day.

Tanikawa et al. (2022) examined the effect of nattokinase on the COVID-19 spike protein. In the first experiment, they demonstrated that spike was degraded in a time and dose-dependent manner in a cell lysate preparation that could be similar to a vaccine recipient. The second experiment demonstrated that nattokinase degraded the spike protein in SARS-CoV-2 infected cells. This was reproduced in a similar study done by Oba and colleagues in 2021.

9. Garlic 

Garlic as a food and as a supplement is well known to assist in healthy blood flow. 1 cap daily. (R)

10. Vitamin E 

Vitamin E, 1 cap daily. (R)


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